The Greg Inglis injury sustained during South Sydney’s loss to the Tigers last Friday night has rocked the NRL.
Whilst the injury is no doubt shocking, it’s the way South Sydney handled it out on the field that has raised some serious questions.
Inglis suffered a knee injury in the seventh minute of the game. Instead of having him sit out the match, club staff allowed him to play on until the 58th minute.
It was obvious to all watching the match that Inglis was far from 100%. He could hardly move and was basically a passenger out there.
Scans have since revealed that Inglis has suffered a tear to the ACL. This will put him out of action for the remainder of the season. The Rabbitohs are denying that leaving him out on the field caused the seriousness of the injury.
Osteopath Dayne Sweres of Melbourne’s Inner North Osteopathy is an expert on musculoskeletal biomechanics. Sweres agrees that it is a complicated situation and empathises with South Sydney club medical staff.
“Diagnosing a ruptured ACL in the acute phase (very soon after injury) can be difficult and we would hope that the testing would show up any damage to the ACL. I’m sure that the medical staff would have performed these tests and had they have come back positive they would not have allowed Inglis to return to play.”
“A full rupture can be less painful than a partial because there’s no pulling through the damaged tissue to cause pain, it’s just floating free.”
“A full rupture on testing will be quite loose but very soon afterward the injury can be masked by muscle spasming and swelling (as it will make everything tighter). So it may have felt more stable than it was and Inglis may have felt less pain due to full rupture.”
Playing It Safe?
Sweres agreed that in that situation he would play it safe. But he also mentioned that it is a complicated call for medical staff in a sporting environment.
“When it comes to ACL I’d definitely be on the side of caution. Especially in Round 1 when your best player is involved.”
“But being a sports doctor/physiotherapist/osteopath in that position would be really difficult because, let’s be honest, everyone wants the player out there. The fans do and so does the player himself.”
“So it all falls on you the medical professional. If you keep him off and they lose and he gets a scan the next day that clears him of structural damage, you can look a little silly.”
“Having said that, I think most people in a sports organisation would accept that a long term perspective and cautious approach will get you further than a gamble.”
“Any time you let a player return to the field under an injury cloud, you’re putting him at risk of not only injuring that particular issue further but also at risk of other injuries due to altered gait, movement patterns and also a player having a protective/hindered attack on situations.”
“As you know, it’s often the person who goes in harder that ends up on the better side of a collision. If you pull out slightly you’re in trouble.”
In an interview with The Daily Telegraph Bunnies, coach Michael Maguire discussed how devastated he was by the injury.
“Hindsight is a great thing and obviously we put our hand up and we didn’t get the call right,” Maguire said.
“When I got to him at halftime and I spoke to the doc, he was determined to go back out and he thought it was going to be OK. Unfortunately it didn’t come across as any of us would have liked.”
“When I got the news the following day after the scan, I was shattered like everyone. I have worked with Greg for a long, long time. He and I are very close.”
Road To Recovery
G.I is understood to have undergone surgery and is expected to spend six months on the sidelines.
Australian coach Mal Meninga hasn’t ruled out selecting Inglis for the national World Cup squad later in the year. The World Cup kicks off in late October and Mal wants to give his star every chance of playing.
“Greg’s a really important part of the rep program, he’s one of our best players in the game. It’s very important that he’s part of the team if he’s available,” Meninga told Fox League.
“We’d have no hesitation in picking him if he hasn’t played any games this year.”
I wish G.I all the best with his recovery. Let’s hope Mal and the Kangaroos selectors don’t rush him into the Aussie side with too much haste.
by Michael T. Lynch – contributor